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Xerafy Releases Its Smallest On-Metal RFID Tags

No bigger than a grain of rice, the new XXS tags are tiny enough to be embedded in very small medical tools, and have a read range of 1.6 to 2 feet.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 27, 2015

RFID technology company Xerafy has announced the release of two on-metal tags that are no bigger than a grain of rice—tiny enough to be embedded in, or attached to, objects such as surgical and dental tools, in addition to very small automotive components. The Dash XXS and Dot XXS are what Xerafy calls the world's smallest RFID metal tags. Both can sustain high temperatures, making it possible for them to be used in sterilization and autoclave environments. They were designed for the health-care industry, says Dennis Khoo, Xerafy's CEO, as well as for use in the automotive manufacturing and oil and gas industries.

Xerafy plans to begin shipping the tags to customers by mid-November.

The Dot XXS, shown embedded in a tool, is 4.08 millimeters in diameter and 2.58 millimeters in thickness.
Three years ago, Khoo says, Xerafy released the larger versions of the tags, the Dash XS and Dot XS models, both of which proved to be highly popular, he reports. Nonetheless, the company continued trying to develop something smaller. "One of the applications was for surgical tools," he notes, and the XS tags, though small, are about twice the size of the new XXS tags, making them too large for some surgeons who handled the tools. The concern was that the XS tags or equivalent could add weight, upset the tool's balance and make it that much more difficult for physicians to manipulate them while performing surgery on a patient. Some items, such as certain dental tools and automotive components, were too small to be fitted with an XS tag.

Dennis Khoo, Xerafy's CEO
According to Khoo, the XXS versions—which have been tested in trials by multiple customers during the past six months—are small enough that they can be manufactured directly into very small items. Both the Dash XXS and Dot XXS tags are made with an Alien Technology Higgs-3 chip and encased in ceramic material, thereby ensuring that they can operate well when attached to metal. The Dash XXS weighs 0.004 ounce (0.12 gram) and measures 6.75 millimeters by 2.08 millimeters by 2.08 millimeters (0.26 inch by 0.08 inch by 0.08 inch). The tag can be read at a distance of up to 2 feet via a fixed reader with a linearly polarized antenna.

The Dot XXS is even smaller, weighing 0.006 ounce (0.16 gram) and measuring 4.08 millimeters (0.16 inch) in diameter and 2.58 millimeters (0.10 inch) in thickness. It has a read range of up to 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) with a fixed reader.

Both tags can sustain chemical sterilization, thermal disinfection at temperatures of up to 77 degrees Celsius (170.6 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 30 minutes and sterilization at 135 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit). Both have also passed Xerafy-conducted tests for autoclave sterilization at 121 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1,000 cycles.

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